Literary Precedents for Out of the Silent Planet

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The debt to Swift's Gulliver's Travels (1726) is apparent in several details of the novel: Ransom is a philologist, and Gulliver states he "had a great Facility by the Strength of my Memory . . . [for] learning . . . Language"; each comes to the lands unwillingly; each describes the beings with whom he comes into contact with great and prosaic detail; each uses analogy to explain the unfamiliar; each is commenting on his own time and place by describing places which are ultimately fantastic.

H. G. Wells is another literary influence on the novel. The vagueness of the physics needed in both Out of the Silent Planet (1938) and Wells's The First Men in the Moon (1901) and the protagonists' sighting earth from the spaceships are parallels. However, in substantial ways Out of the Silent Planet is a rejoinder to Wells's fantasies. For example, when Ransom is afraid, his fears are generally attributable to Wells...

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This section contains 291 words
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Buy the Out of the Silent Planet Study Guide
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